It takes a system to change the system: Seven systems transformations for benchmarking companies on the SDGs

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Systems paper update WBA 2021

Seven systems transformations for benchmarking companies on the SDGs

Back in 2019 the World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA) published its first report – ‘Measuring what matters the most’, which explains how we identified seven systems transformations that offer a strategic framework to develop benchmarks and identify 2,000 keystone companies (SDG2000) that are vital to achieving the Sustainable Developmental Goals.

This 2021 report provides an update, identifying how the seven systems transformations framework relates to today’s societal and planetary needs in a post-pandemic context.

2020 should have kick-started a Decade of Action on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but was derailed by COVID-19 almost before the year had started. The world is experiencing one of the largest public health crises in a century, causing severe shocks to economic, social and health systems across the globe.

The pandemic ignited social expectations for businesses to take greater responsibility for people and the planet. However, we need more transparency, clarity, leadership and accountability for business to positively impact people and the planet.

WBA is uniquely poised to meet this need with our work focused on driving the systemic transformation necessary to achieve the SDGs. Our benchmarks act as roadmaps for companies and industries to improve their performance and provide evidence that informs and enables dialogue. They reveal the failures and successes of business, providing clarity for businesses navigating the transformation journey and accountability along the way.

new WBA system wheel 2021

Evolving towards a nature and biodiversity transformation

In 2021, WBA identified a need to expand the scope of the circular transformation to cover nature and biodiversity too, as a recognition of the need for greater understanding, transparency and scrutiny of business impact on our environment.

The nature and biodiversity transformation will examine how the impacts of business contribute to stable and resilient ecosystems which enable humanity and nature to co-exist within planetary boundaries on biodiversity, climate, land, oceans and water.

The future benchmark assessments will measure and track corporate performance towards a nature-positive future by measuring how companies are reducing their impact and even regenerating ecosystems.

This report marks our first introduction of the nature and biodiversity transformation (formerly referred to as the circular transformation) in WBA’s seven system transformations. We aim to publish a draft methodology by the end of 2021 which will define the sectors that will be assessed in our future Nature Benchmark.

It takes a system to change the system. We welcome you to be part of the transformative change the world needs to see

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